About Brooke

"Brooke is a very dynamic teacher -- whatever we're doing, she supports it with a strong forward energy." - camper at BACDS Hey Days English Dance and Music Week 2019

Brooke Friendly has been folk and country dancing for more than 40 years and has taught since 1982. She teaches an ongoing English dance class for the Southern Oregon University (SOU) Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. With her husband, Chris Sackett, she co-leads a weekly community dance in Ashland which includes both English and Scottish country dance. For a number of years, she taught an academic credit class on English and Scottish country dance at SOU.

Brooke also calls for contra, community, and family dances.

Brooke has been on staff at numerous dance weeks, weekends, festivals, balls, and other events around North America, England, and Australia. In 2007 and 2008, and again in 2017-19, she was program director of the Hey Days, the Bay Area Country Dance Society English Dance and Music Week. In addition, she leads callers' workshops for English country dance teachers. Check out her past gigs, these include links to two of her presentations on 5 Things.

In 2020, she devised several online callers workshops which she has taught every year since. Check out the workshop options.

"The online format worked out really well. It allowed us to go much deeper into topics than we could have in a weekend or weeklong camp course." - participant in 2020 8-week online callers course

She and Chris have devised English and Scottish Country Dances, to increasing international acclaim, since 1996. They have published six books of dances. Impropriety Volume 1, published in 2006, is now out of print and available as a digital download through CDSS. Impropriety Volume 2 was published in 2008, Impropriety Volume 3 in 2010, Impropriety Volume 4 in 2012, Impropriety Volume 5 in 2015, and Impropriety Volumne 6 in 2019. In May 2009, they collaborated with the newly formed band Roguery (Anita Anderson and Dave Bartley from Seattle WA, Shira Kammen from Berkeley CA, and Jim Oakden from Santa Cruz CA) to produce a CD of music for the English Country Dances in Volume 1. In 2010, they produced a CD for Volume 2, in 2011 a CD for Volume 3, in 2012 a CD for Volume 4, in 2015 Sweet Mischief--a CD for Volume 5, and in 2019 A New Leaf--a CD for Volume 6.

Theatrical choreography credits include SOU Department of Theatre Arts productions of Entertaining Strangers (with Chris), Dancing at Lughnasa and Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s world premiere Parcel From America.

Brooke was a founding member of The Heather and the Rose Country Dancers, a statewide organization promoting English and Scottish Country Dance with several branches throughout Oregon whose teachers use global/postitional terminology (no reference to gender) for teaching and calling. She served as H&R’s treasurer and secretary for seven years. She coordinates the Ashland branch’s annual spring ball that celebrated its 39th anniversary in 2019. Brooke has twice served on the board of the Country Dance and Song Society, once in 2001-2007 and again, as secretary, in 2014-2019.

In addition to teaching, organizing, and composing country dance, Brooke has been in several performing groups presenting English, Scottish, Irish and Garland dance and was on a Morris team for eight years. In 2018 she started Rogue Morris and Sword, a team performing longsword and border morris. She loves to sing, especially rounds, and has taught round workshops and led round singing at a variety of events.

Brooke worked at Southern Oregon University for 13 years, for the Department of Theatre Arts as director of the Ashland Center for Theatre Studies, running theatre teacher training programs, and for SOU Extended Campus Programs managing arts and adult community education programs. She worked for the Arts Council of Southern Oregon, a regional arts service agency, for more than eight years. As Executive Director, Brooke was responsible for identifying and securing resources needed for the growth and development of the Arts Council including funds, board members and other resources. Brooke also managed the Arts in Education program, oversaw a small grants program, and provided consulting help to artists and arts organizations. She served for two years on the Oregon Arts Commission's statewide arts education long range planning committee.

When not dancing, choreographing, teaching, organizing, or singing, Brooke may be found working in her huge vegetable garden, birding, walking, practicing yoga. or doing theatre improv.

"During today's workshop and dance I asked what you appreciate most about Brooke. Based on your input, I'd like to wrap up this evening by thanking Brooke for her clear directions and relaxed approach to teaching, for her willingness to jump off the stage and onto the dance floor to demonstrate key points, and for the varied program of dances -- including dances with unusual elements -- she brought to Hands Across the Water this year."
-organizer for Hands Across the Water dance weekend in Victoria BC Canada 2011